Where are you working and what do you do there?
Badger Liquor Company. Chief Information Officer (CIO)
What is your typical work day like?
Planning meetings. Discussions on how technology can help achieve business goals. Personnel management
What path did you take to your current career, were there other jobs along the way?
Started out as a Cadet Computer Analyst at Wisconsin Electric Power Company. I always thought the "Cadet" title was kinda old-fashioned, but cool - like I was an astronaut. I became member of the Real-Time process Control group that handled the plant computer systems and also any of the micro-processor based systems (like security control).
After a few years I transferred internally and became a member of the LAN/WAN team (responsible for all PCs, Servers, and Network Components) and eventually became the Manager of that team.
After 10 years, I then joined a consulting firm based in Milwaukee called Allied Computer Group as Senior Consultant of their Advanced Consulting Group. I also served as the Chief Technology Officer for Allied. I worked with many of the largest firms in the Milwaukee area and the Fox Valley helping chart their Information System paths.
I found an opportunity in Eau Claire to become the head of a new Technology Consulting practice for Western Wisconsin. I became the Western Region Consulting Director for Wipfli. I worked with many firms doing project management, network and computer system design, system implementations, security reviews and leading and growing the consulting practice.
Four years later in late 2002, I found an opportunity to become the Director of IS Infrastructure for Menards, based in Eau Claire. I was responsible for 70 team members and we managed and controlled all of the computer systems and networks for over 270 stores, the manufacturing facilities and the corporate offices.
In 2012, Badger Liquor Company recruited me to join their firm as the CIO and become a member of their strategic leadership team, helping direct how the business operates and grows.
How did your liberal arts education at UW-Eau Claire help prepare you for your career?
It gave me a solid grounding in the skills I needed to start my career. It helped hone my critical thinking skills. My business minor also greatly helped me understand the workings of a business and talk to non-computer people. I was very actively involved in the UWEC Theatre while attending UWEC. This really helped me improve my communications and inter-personal skills.
Is there something more you wish you would have done in college to prepare for your career?
No. I was always looking forward and made sure I had an internship (working for the Sociology Department as a computer analyst) and also involved in many things outside of the Computer Department to provide me breadth of experience.
What advice do you have for UW-Eau Claire students to become successful in their own careers?
Always actively look to over communicate and try to find people to help - become the "goto person" for your team. Find ways to tell people, "YES." This gives you visibility and you are perceived as a valuable resource.
When you become a Manager, delegate everything you possibly can. Always try to find someone to do your job - this empowers the people who work for you and gives you the time to pay attention to the highest priorities. Then when you find the next opportunity in your firm, there will be someone in your team ready to take your spot.
Always challenge people who say it can't be done. I can't tell you how many times I was told "they won't let us do that." I always asked who "they" was and then went and talked to them directly. It never failed that "they" were open to any idea that saved money or improved service. Don't be afraid to talk to the people above you directly!
Don't be afraid to move jobs - even within a corporation. Change will broaden you and keep you fresh.